50 years ago today – Bath Blues – Teenage Dreams So Hard to Beat

The last Saturday in June 1969 was the 28th of the month, it was the day after I had finished my O-level exams. Ahead of me was a long summer, some holidays in West Cork where the seeds of my current residence were sowed, 4 weeks clerical work at SWEB and a return to “the 6th form”.

But first was “The Bath Festival of Blues”. 1969 was the height of The Blues Boom in the UK ie it was just about to finish. This proved to be a forerunner of the festivals to come but was thankfully mud free. There is an argument that this event was a directly responsible for influencing Michael Eavis to start The Glastonbury Festival –┬áSomerset, open air, music etc.

I attended with 30,000 others, the venue was Bath Rec, the security was scant and the atmosphere was very, very laid back. My friend Pete (who went on have a varied and successful career in the oil industry) & I hitch hiked from Cardiff (it took ages) and then caught the train back; silly really as a cheap day return would have cost a tiny amount more than the single fare.

What do I remember? Setting my eyes on the legendary DJ John Peel (who was responsible for our house being affectionately nicknamed Rees Acres), Fleetwood Mac headlining, Led Zeppelin’s performance, Ten Years After warming up for their astonishing performance at Woodstock, Keith Emerson’s Hammond organ solos and choreography, the political call and response of the Liverpool Scene (featuring poet Adrian Henry).

Most of all I remember feeling “grown up” and free to be myself, I have never lost my love of live music and this kicked off a decade of seeing every band that I could in venues large and small. I have grown more selective over the years but am still a sucker for a “bit of live.”

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